WEEK THREE: LIST BUILDING AND LIST MANAGEMENT
Publishers need to make money, both off their front list and their back list and so keeping on top of their ‘lists’ is very important.
Tony talked in depth about the process of list building and management for academic publishers and how there are always goals to be met before commissioning a piece of work. Finding high quality work is the key to success and each piece is analysed through the SWOT analysis: strength/weaknesses/opportunities/threats.
When building a list, not only do they need to sell X volumes to profit, but they also need to see if it fits in with strategy of the company and this has a huge impact on the choice for a Commissioning Editor. Similarly, what is the trend at the moment? Do MUP want to produce a book about Obama when Trump is due to come into office?
In regards to the company front list, it is of course important to know what is selling well and what isn’t, but also where is the gap for future work? There is a continuous cycle that will never end, when one is finished another one will begin.
One of the major aspects of a book proposal being successful is the finance of commissioning that piece of work. The finances will be calculated on a Profit and Loss sheet and assessed against similar titles or previous sales. This coincides with the assessment of sales results and stock management and the Publisher need to be in control of what stock they currently have.
The session allowed us to explore practical work, making the decision of reprinting, pulping or acquiring new additions of current MUP work and with this, we were able to tackle a P&L sheet and sales figures.